On January 15, 2016, the Supreme Court of Canada gave the Government of Canada an extension of only four months (until June 2016) to formulate and adopt a law in keeping with the Carter decision, which allows assisted suicide in Canada. The Court also agreed to exempt Québec from the extension so that its euthanasia law can remain in effect. If the federal government does not legislate on the issue within this time, Canada's assisted suicide law will be null and void, leaving no protection in law for Canadians.
Living with Dignity hopes that our parliamentarians will take advantage of this short extension to implement a law that will protect all Canadians from the harms that occur in other jurisdictions where euthanasia or assisted suicide is permitted.
We remain very concerned by the possibility of a wide-open law that could even target vulnerable children and people lacking basic health care – as was recommended by the Provincial-Territorial Group in its blatantly pro-euthanasia report.
It is regrettable that the Court gave Quebec an exemption to allow its doctors to commit acts that are still considered criminal offenses everywhere else in Canada.
We hope that legislators will ensure that physicians who refuse to participate in homicide are always fully respected and protected by the new law, without any obligation to refer or to collaborate in any way in euthanasia or assisted suicide requests.